No-Report Paradigms: Extracting the True Neural Correlates of Consciousness

Trends Cogn Sci. 2015 Dec;19(12):757-770. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.10.002. Epub 2015 Nov 13.


The goal of consciousness research is to reveal the neural basis of phenomenal experience. To study phenomenology, experimenters seem obliged to ask reports from the subjects to ascertain what they experience. However, we argue that the requirement of reports has biased the search for the neural correlates of consciousness over the past decades. More recent studies attempt to dissociate neural activity that gives rise to consciousness from the activity that enables the report; in particular, no-report paradigms have been utilized to study conscious experience in the full absence of any report. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of report-based and no-report paradigms, and ask how these jointly bring us closer to understanding the true neural basis of consciousness.

Keywords: access; attention; awareness; consciousness; introspection; report.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuropsychological Tests